Front disc brakes are -- to put it bluntly -- a safer option for stopping your classic car. It also increases stability and improves handling. Converting to front disc brakes from drum brakes on an older vehicle is a project that a DIYer could dive into.
That being said, a front disc brake conversion isn't something to just jump into blindly. For one thing, the conversion kit you need depends on both the type of car you have and its year of manufacture. Here at Master Power Brakes, we’re happy to walk you through some basics that you need to know if you’re planning on doing this project on your own. This blog will explain a quick overview of the process and some roadblocks you may encounter so that you can better decide whether it is a job you can do yourself or if it’s best to outsource it to professionals.
The Basics: On Your Own?
There are many appealing aspects of switching to front disc brakes on your own. For one thing, you're able to completely control the quality of the parts that are used. Another advantage is that you can do the job at your convenience and on your own time.
Before you get started, make sure you have everything that you need to get the job done from start to finish. This includes brake fluid, wheel bearing grease and probably the most important item, a complete conversion system that is model specific and includes all of the necessary conversion items.
In theory, the process for a front disc brake conversion is simple. After jacking the car up, place jack stands for extra stability. First, loosen the lug nuts and remove the wheel and brake components. Replace the drums with pads and rotors, then add brake fluid and you're done!
Potential Roadblocks: Best to Outsource?
Before you get started, whether you plan to tackle the job or let someone else do it for you, do your research and make sure you get the system that is best suited to you, your vehicle and your budget. Too many times, people buy products from varying manufacturers that don’t work properly together or they don’t get everything needed. Ask questions of the company you are looking to buy from about what additional is required. Look at the instructions for the system before even purchasing the system to better understand the process and most importantly, verify your wheel fitment before buying any parts. If you get everything installed and then find out your wheels won’t fit, you may be stuck with a disc brake conversion kit that won’t work for you and can’t return it or you’ll have to make a sizable investment in new wheels and tires. These are all things that a DIY’er can do but sometimes might feel less stress going through an installation professional.
For the most part, a disc brake conversion is a pretty straight-forward exercise. There are only a handful of specialty tools that might be required and most of them can be borrowed or even rented from a local auto parts store.
For most DIY’ers that have automotive knowledge and background along with some mechanical ability, a disc brake conversion will take a solid weekend. Where most people hit stumbling blocks is when they get to the brake lines especially when doing a power conversion or converting from a single bowl master cylinder to a dual reservoir master cylinder. This generally requires some additional parts or parts be made since we don’t include any hardlines with the systems. If anything usually pushes a person from doing the job by themselves to sending it to a professional, this is the area.
If you didn’t get a helpless feeling when reading through the above, you are probably a person that can handle the job yourself. If you did get the feeling in your gut that says don’t do it, reach out to a professional for guidance. You will feel much better when it comes to driving your classic.
The Bottom Line
Replacing your current brakes with front disc brakes makes your car a whole lot safer to stop and control. Further, it’s definitely possible for you to install your kit yourself. However, like nearly any important job, it is always possible for roadblocks to occur.
If you have more questions and/or need guidance, Master Power Brakes is always here for you! Our experts are passionate about helping our customers. Contact us today!